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Katelynw98

Passports on Domestic Cruise

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I am going on a cruise in January 2020 to Cozumel.  I have a passport, but it needs to be renewed due to being 17 when I got it.  My fiance has never had a passport before.  So it would cost us over $200 to get passports and a lot more to do before the cruise.  We are trying to save as much as we can on this little getaway.  Is it too risky to travel without a passport and just bring a birth certificate and driver's license?  I have read that Carnival allows this on domestic cruises which is what I am going on, but it does recommend having a passport.  What do I need to do?

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True that on a closed loop cruise, a BC and government photo id (e.g. driver's license) are all that is technically required. There is some risk involved in that if something unfortunate should happen and you end up stranded in Mexico (e.g. an injury or serious illness), getting home might be an issue. Carnival is therefore correct in recommending passports (or passport cards - have you considered one of those? - they are less expensive, $65) on their Caribbean itineraries.

Edited by joepeka

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Why are you calling the a domestic cruise? I personally would never leave U.S. soil without a passport. Many on this board will disagree and do not have passports. If something bad happens, and accidents do happen, even a love one in the states needs your attention. Try flying from Mexico without a passport. As to "a lot more to do" , renwing a passport is easy and other than getting a photo, a new passport will take an hour at the most

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1 minute ago, joepeka said:

There is some risk involved in that if something unfortunate should happen and you end up stranded in Mexico (e.g. an injury or serious illness), getting home might be an issue.

 

Unfortunately a passport card would be useless unless they were going to drive home from Mexico

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7 minutes ago, coevan said:

 

Unfortunately a passport card would be useless unless they were going to drive home from Mexico

True enough, I was trying to give the OP a less expensive option that was better than carrying a paper BC and US driver's license. The passport card can also be used for domestic US airline travel. Personally, we never cruise without our passport books.

Edited by joepeka

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3 minutes ago, coevan said:

Why are you calling the a domestic cruise? I personally would never leave U.S. soil without a passport. Many on this board will disagree and do not have passports. If something bad happens, and accidents do happen, even a love one in the states needs your attention. Try flying from Mexico without a passport. As to "a lot more to do" , renwing a passport is easy and other than getting a photo, a new passport will take an hour at the most

Domestic cruises are cruises that begin and end in an U.S. port

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sorry, never heard this term. You are not only going to Cozumel, what are your other ports

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1 minute ago, coevan said:

sorry, never heard this term. You are not only going to Cozumel, what are your other ports

Just Cozumel. It is a 4 day cruise

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I personally would not cruise without a passport.  As mentioned above, it would be needed if you became ill or injured and have to be airlifted home.  Also, if you miss the ship due to having an extra drink at Senor Frogs, you will need a passport to get to the next port.  It's just a smart thing to have.

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12 minutes ago, Katelynw98 said:

Domestic cruises are cruises that begin and end in an U.S. port

Actually no domestic cruises are not cruises that begin and end in an U.S. port.  What you are describing are closed loop cruises.  A cruise that starts in the US visited some kind of foreign port and ends at the same US port.

 

A domestic cruise is a cruise that starts at a US port, such as Jacksonville heads up the coast stopping at various US ports, and finally ending at a US port such as Baltimore.

 

Vast difference.

Edited by gatour

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13 minutes ago, Katelynw98 said:

Just Cozumel. It is a 4 day cruise

So, I guess you could call this a "domestic cruise" if you want but the fact that it calls on an international port between it's US embarkation and debarkation ports makes it international, i.e. a "closed loop" cruise.

ETA: I apologize for making this discussion one of semantics but the advice above about taking the time and expense of getting passports (which are good for 10 years) is good advice.

Edited by joepeka

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I would like to piggy back on this thread, please.

 

We have always traveled with passports. We currently have a spring break closed-loop cruise out of Long Beach, CA, with stops in Mexico with our 17 year-old son. His passport expired within the last year. I have held off on renewing his, just in case a long-promised-but-never-materialized school band trip actually happens this year. He will turn 18 three weeks after the cruise ends, and will then be eligible for a 10 year passport. 

 

Since his dad and I will have our valid passports with us, do you think it would be too risky to have him travel with just his birth certificate and driver license, and maybe his expired passport? Or should we just bite the bullet and get him a new passport?

 

Note: we paid for the first "college age" passport for his older siblings, with the caveat that it was "the last one on our dime." I was prepared to do the same if he didn't absolutely need one for this trip.

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8 minutes ago, MamaFej said:

I would like to piggy back on this thread, please.

 

We have always traveled with passports. We currently have a spring break closed-loop cruise out of Long Beach, CA, with stops in Mexico with our 17 year-old son. His passport expired within the last year. I have held off on renewing his, just in case a long-promised-but-never-materialized school band trip actually happens this year. He will turn 18 three weeks after the cruise ends, and will then be eligible for a 10 year passport. 

 

 

I believe he is eligible for a 10 year passport at age 16.

 

 

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I rarely hear of cruisers that actually need a passport. There are thousands upon thousands that cruise each week with a birth certificate and proper photo Id. 

 

Do some cruisers end up utilizing or wishing they had a passport? Yes, a few do. 

 

Go with what you're comfortable with. How would you get home if you couldn't fly? What's the chances that you will need to fly? Is the passport worth that peace of mind? Whatever you decide, that's your answer.

Edited by Lottacruises

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2 minutes ago, crzndeb said:

I believe he is eligible for a 10 year passport at age 16.

 

 

Thank you. I wasn't aware of that. I had thought 16 and 17 were like other minor ages. I will check the website. 

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At me to the list of people who would never leave the US without a passport. To me it is a small price to pay for the unexpected, which you never know when it is going to happen. 

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While I am also in the camp of not leaving the country without a passport, you need to do what is going to be best for your situation.


Our first cruise, both of our passports had expired already so we just took our Birth Certificates and DLs. We had zero issues.
Of course, it was a little uncomfortable for me to travel with our BCs, so it was always in the back of my mind in case they were stolen or got lost.
However, before our next cruise we got our passports renewed (also got the passport cards) and have sailed with those ever since.

The renewal fee can be a lot of money, depending on your circumstances. Especially before a vacation.
If you can easily take the other documents, then don't worry about it.
If you have the means and wherewithal, then get your passport.

Whatever you decide, have fun! Cozumel is a great port!

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1 hour ago, Lottacruises said:

I rarely hear of cruisers that actually need a passport. There are thousands upon thousands that cruise each week with a birth certificate and proper photo Id. 

 

Do some cruisers end up utilizing or wishing they had a passport? Yes, a few do. 

 

Go with what you're comfortable with. How would you get home if you couldn't fly? What's the chances that you will need to fly? Is the passport worth that peace of mind? Whatever you decide, that's your answer.

I agree with this 100%.  Thousands of people sail closed-loop itineraries every week with a BC and photo ID with absolutely NO problem.   

 

(And FWIW, my spouse was in charge of the Passport Section of an American Consulate for 2 years in a city visited by multiple cruise lines.   Not once did he have to process an emergency passport for someone on a cruise ship who had to return to the US.  It just doesn’t happen very often at all.)  

Edited by GradUT

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13 minutes ago, GradUT said:

I agree with this 100%.  Thousands of people sail closed-loop itineraries every week with a BC and photo ID with absolutely NO problem.   

 

(And FWIW, my spouse was in charge of the Passport Section of an American Consulate for 2 years in a city visited by multiple cruise lines.   Not once did he have to process an emergency passport for someone on a cruise ship who had to return to the US.  It just doesn’t happen very often at all.)  

It only has to happen once to financially devastate a family.  

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2 hours ago, Katelynw98 said:

I am going on a cruise in January 2020 to Cozumel.  I have a passport, but it needs to be renewed due to being 17 when I got it.  My fiance has never had a passport before.  So it would cost us over $200 to get passports and a lot more to do before the cruise.  We are trying to save as much as we can on this little getaway.  Is it too risky to travel without a passport and just bring a birth certificate and driver's license?  I have read that Carnival allows this on domestic cruises which is what I am going on, but it does recommend having a passport.  What do I need to do?

Saving $200 could cost you thousands if you trip and break a leg or worse.  I was diagnosed with a brain aneurysm on return from a cruise.  The two weird headaches I had on board turned out not to be rum related but microbleeds.      

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8 hours ago, Elaine5715 said:

Saving $200 could cost you thousands if you trip and break a leg or worse.  I was diagnosed with a brain aneurysm on return from a cruise.  The two weird headaches I had on board turned out not to be rum related but microbleeds.      

 

 

So now we should add insurance to the equation. These medical things can happen also. How many actually take out insurance for medical evacuations, etc...

 

If we are talking about passports potentially saving a lot of money, it could pale in comparison to what insurance could potentially save. Many many more travel without insurance than a passport though. 

 

I suggest still to the OP knowing facts, evaluating risks, and making a decision you're comfortable with.

Edited by Lottacruises

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9 hours ago, Elaine5715 said:

Saving $200 could cost you thousands if you trip and break a leg or worse.  I was diagnosed with a brain aneurysm on return from a cruise.  The two weird headaches I had on board turned out not to be rum related but microbleeds.      

That's a stronger argument for having travel insurance.

 

OP, if you don't have a passport you would have some delay IF you had to leave the ship in Cozumel to return home. You have to assess your risk of you having to leave the ship in that short time (probably only 8 hours or so) you are on shore in Cozumel. Much of the risk ashore you can mitigate yourself- don't stray far from the port, don't do anything dangerous, make doubly sure you get back to the ship ahead of time, etc. Personally I wouldn't spend money on a passport for a 4 day cruise if I didn't have any immediate plans for any other travel (and yes, I have made that decision in real life- our first cruise was a 4 day and passports would have set us back around $850 and we decided the risk was low enough that we could forego the passports).  

 

I will add, in case this thread gets moved, that some cruise lines do require everyone to have a passport but Carnival isn't one of them.

Edited by sparks1093

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54 minutes ago, sparks1093 said:

That's a stronger argument for having travel insurance.

 

OP, if you don't have a passport you would have some delay IF you had to leave the ship in Cozumel to return home. You have to assess your risk of you having to leave the ship in that short time (probably only 8 hours or so) you are on shore in Cozumel. Much of the risk ashore you can mitigate yourself- don't stray far from the port, don't do anything dangerous, make doubly sure you get back to the ship ahead of time, etc. Personally I wouldn't spend money on a passport for a 4 day cruise if I didn't have any immediate plans for any other travel (and yes, I have made that decision in real life- our first cruise was a 4 day and passports would have set us back around $850 and we decided the risk was low enough that we could forego the passports).  

 

I will add, in case this thread gets moved, that some cruise lines do require everyone to have a passport but Carnival isn't one of them.

It is argument for both.  Travel insurance won't help you get back to the US

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12 hours ago, coevan said:

learn something new every day

That's okay, I had the same question about "domestic cruises" with Cozumel as a port.  Closed loop sure, but domestic with an international port seems like a contradictory term.  Probably be a term I wouldn't use again.

 

We also have an annual travel insurance policy since we take numerous trips and cruises each year.

Edited by evandbob

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